Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Transmuting Failure Into Philanthropy

I had a most unpleasant correspondence over the phone with a prospect today...

Let's call this gentleman "Bret". I found Bret on linkedin. He was listed as a salesman for a large local company of which I thought would be a great candidate for an out-of-the-box approach to prospecting.

I noticed that Bret placed the role of "Philanthropist" before his role as a salesman...

"That is awesome!" I thought to myself as I am currently working on making regular donations to charities and non-profits with the hopes of getting more and more involved with Philanthropy and just generally helping people in need.

However, my idea (which I thought for sure was a good one mind you) how to approach this man failed horribly...

Despite this fact I stand behind my actions as mentioned below....

I thought to myself that Bret's company would likely be a perfect candidate for a managed print services contract and I figured that if I did in fact sign them, I would donate my FULL commission to his non-profit organization which is called Saving Teens In Crisis and is a non-profit that upon reading about, found to be truly awesome.

I called Bret and told him about my company, who we are, what we do and said that I was hoping he could put me in touch with his IT manager so that I might do a free managed print analysis for his company with the knowledge that if we ended up doing business together I would donate all of my commission from sales with his company to the non-profit he runs.

At this point Bret was clearly using intense restraint as he basically accused me of being the absolute worst kind of human being on the planet...

I was shocked, confused and tried to reply as he explained to me that using philanthropy to garner personal gain was a great evil (which I agreed with) as I went on to explain that the motivation for this call was again to donate in full my commissions from business should it transpire between our companies to his non-profit.

He bocked at me and said "yeah that's a nice angle", Click...

In retrospect I can understand what happened  He works in sales and knows there are in fact super low-life, scumbag people who work as sales professionals. I am sure there are in fact people who actually scam non-profits with similar tactics.

I was absolutely horrified, hurt and at a loss for words.

I took twenty minutes to think things over and regroup my mind and spirit. I then texted an explanation to him as well as a justification for my approach (which I stand behind because my intent was fully in the right place) and notified him that while I understand we will likely never do business together I was going to donate to his non-profit as a sign of good faith, imploring him with many words to give me the benefit of the doubt and listen to me as a human being rather than a salesman.

I do not doubt that he will likely never speak to me again however, I promptly donated to his organization through their website and volunteered to donate time as well if needed (as I had planed on doing anyway before this debacle occurred).

So as a believer in emotional alchemy, I sat and pondered all that had just transpired and meditated on how I could transmute these negative emotions and actions into gold....

This is what I came up with:

I have decided that from here on out I will donate 100% of my commissions from managed print services contracts signed with non-profits/charities (who do not discriminate against any social groups of any kind) to said non-profit/charity.

While this was a highly negative experience it has lead to what I believe is an answer to how I can help more people which is something I have been pondering as of late.

It is my hope that this post will serve as both a reminder of caution in how one approaches a prospect (even when the intentions are good) and also as a catalyst for a seed which will grow into financial benefits for multiple non-profits and charities.

Please share this post if you have read it and thank you for reading. 

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